FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(June 2, 2021, Fort McMurray, AB) – Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) is calling on all levels of government—federal, provincial, and municipal—to immediately open robust and thorough investigations into the criminal acts that took place at each of the Indian Residential School locations across Canada, and to identify the graves of the Indigenous children who never returned home after being forcibly removed from their loving families and communities. ATC calls on the Government of Canada to provide additional supports to survivors and descendants of the residential schools. The intergenerational trauma that remains in Indigenous communities and families cannot be ignored.
The remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation has highlighted the need for more investigations. ATC has and will continue to honour the memory of these children with others. This is one story of one school, today’s call to action is about all the Indian Residential School system’s atrocities that have never been fully and properly investigated as the criminal acts they are. The knowledge of mass graves that have been forgotten or hidden by the institutions that created them cannot be allowed to remain as the status quo in Canada. Indigenous peoples’ experiences and knowledge of these heinous crimes are supported by evidence that has deliberately been neglected to be uncovered. Action from all levels of government is needed to ensure the full truth is known and Canada is accountable for its history.
“The families of those children taken, the survivors, and their descendants have long known that the horrific experience of the residential school system resulted in the death of the children who never made it home,” said Chief Adam, President of the Athabasca Tribal Council and Chief of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “The findings by the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops have only added to the evidence of the atrocities our people have been dealing with for generations. Now is the time to expose the full scope of the criminal acts of genocide against our people that still affect our communities today. Action must be taken to investigate the criminal acts inflicted against children.”
The damage that has been perpetrated against Indigenous people, culture, languages and communities will not remain unseen. Recovery and healing are the only steps forward for Indigenous community members. ATC calls on the federal government to increase the support that is available to Indian Residential School survivors and descendants. Supporting these community members is a necessary responsibility of the government’s reconciliation for the trauma inflicted under the Indian Residential School system.
ATC is willing to work with all levels of governments to undertake nation-to-nation solutions that impact and create meaningful change and support to Indigenous communities.
ABOUT ATHABASCA TRIBAL COUNCIL
Athabasca Tribal Council is an organization that serves our First Nations by providing relevant and innovative programs and services that enrich the well-being, health and prosperity of its people. ATC is committed to ensuring the protection of inherent rights, Treaty Rights, and their Traditional Territories while respecting the autonomy of each Nation. For information, visit atcfn.ca.
For more information:
Director of Education, Culture and Language
Athabasca Tribal Council